I've been quit 3 and half years. 2 years ago I bought Gold Class tickets (my reward for quitting) to see Fleetwood Mac. After the concert, standing on the venue steps, I watched my sister desperately light up a cigarette and I had a huge crave and I said out loud ..
"You are so lucky you can smoke".
Now I have tickets to see Stevie Nicks on Thursday at the same venue. I'm curious to see if my old addict brain will wake up and demand a cigarette.
There are some interesting aspects happening within this short couple of sentences.
You said that you watched your sister desperately try to light a cigarette after a concert (that I'm sure was at least a couple of hours long.) This really reminds me of the story I told in my post, "People Who "get" to Smoke", about watching the people desperately trying to smoke as much as they could before they had to catch their flight.
I know you know this and I know I sound like a broken record, but your sister doesn't get to smoke, she HAS to smoke. She has to smoke day and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out, cigarette after cigarette after cigarette after cigarette. And for what? Simply to keep the negative effects of nicotine withdrawal at bay.
There is no better example of being stuck on the hamster wheel and getting nowhere than nicotine addiction.
Us ex-smokers get to have a choice though as to whether to smoke or not. The only detrimental effect will only be if we make the wrong choice. A smoker on the other hand doesn't get to choose so easily. Either choice they make will have consequences. They can either continue to smoke until it slowly cripples and most likely kills them, or they begin the withdrawal process to free themselves from this addiction. While the latter is the obvious better choice, it is one that the smoker will have to go through.
See, the only one who really gets to smoke is the ex smoker, but that statement comes with a caveat.
Nicotine addiction is based off of the negative reinforcement principle, meaning people don't smoke to get a high per say, but to simply stave off the negative withdrawal symptoms. This basically means that if you're no longer actively addicted to nicotine and have no nicotine in blood stream, then the initial cigarette that the ex smoker "gets" to smoke will most likely just make them feel nauseous, shaky, dizzy, with their heart racing instead of giving them the "Aaaaahh" sensation that they were expecting.
Even if there is an illusion of "Aaaaahhh" while smoking the cigarette, it will most likely be ripped away as soon as the person extinguishes the cigarette, leaving the person feeling empty, angry, and confused.
The other part of that caveat is that one cigarette or maybe one or two more will be the only cigarette(s) the ex smoker will "get" to smoke. Through biochemical memory, the body and brain will begin to once again adapt to the onslaught of poisons being re introduced into the body at an amazing speed, and once again the ex-smoker who was in complete control of whether they smoked or not, will be quickly falling back into the grip of addiction. Now the choice as whether to smoke or not that was so easy and simple before, will no longer be. Now the choice will be to continue to HAVE to smoke to keep the negative effects of nicotine withdrawal at bay or once again go through the quitting process to free themselves from this addiction.
Now I apologize Phoebe for using you as a springboard for this long reply, because I know that you know better, but I am writing this more for other people who may have the same thoughts in their head and might be entertaining the idea of acting them out.
I promise anyone who acts out the "fantasy" of smoking just that one cigarette, that the fantasy will be ripped away when reality comes crashing down. I know this from many experience.
Besides, having an occasional thought to smoke because of a certain person, place, or situation is infinitely better than the constant NEED to smoke in any situation.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”~Rumi